Front matter and Introduction - Sydney Studies in Society and Culture, Volume 4 (1988)


  • Marie de Lepervanche
  • Gillian Bottomley


In the wake of the 'Blainey debate' which erupted in Australia in 1984, academics in various disciplines have been preoccupied with both con-tinuities and discontinuities in our thinking about race over the last two centuries. Another topic of more popular public concern is the forthcom-ing bicentenary of white settlement in Australia which, to Aboriginal peo-ple, is hardly cause for celebration at all, given their experience of con-quest and racism since 1788. These were some of the reasons why the Sydney Association for Studies in Society and Culture held a conference on The Cultural Construction of Race in August 1985. This collection offers some of the papers to a wider readership. Although the immediate interests of contributors range over topics as diverse as eighteenth century voyages in the Pacific to Hitler's Mein Kampf, there are common threads linking their concerns; these include the implications for western culture of con-structing the 'imagined communities' of race and nation, and the conse-quences for non-western others of these historical constructions of the body and the body politic.